Dale Kaemingk (left) and Hisham Othman.

Dale Kaemingk (left) and Hisham Othman.

Small-town policing takes center stage in Brier mayoral race

BRIER — This quiet south Snohomish County city of about 6,500 residents is down to two police officers.

For the two candidates running for mayor, revitalizing that police department is the top issue.

Mayor Dale Kaemingk was appointed in July 2020 after the resignation of longtime mayor Bob Colinas. Before that, the retired engineer served on the City Council since the early 2000s.

His opponent, Hisham Othman, is making his first run for office. Othman moved to Brier, where he lives with his wife and kids, 11½ years ago.

It’s a classic tug-of-war between experience and new perspectives. Kaemingk said the mayoral post has a steep learning curve that he’s surpassed. And he noted he’s built relationships with regional officials that his opponent hasn’t. Othman, on the other hand, argued his opponent’s leadership would be more of the same that left the small-town police force depleted.

In July, the council approved an agreement with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office for the next six months to assist the two Brier officers. Brier police chief Mike Catlett caught city officials off guard when he announced his retirement in June. And the department hasn’t had its usual six-officer force since last fall, Kaemingk told The Daily Herald in July.

The city is working with an employment firm to search for a new police chief. Kaemingk said this week the city is looking at five applicants for officers and five applicants for the chief position. Some of those applicants are local; others are from elsewhere.

“We want our Brier officers driving our Brier cars,” is what Kaemingk has heard from residents while campaigning.

It might seem odd that the handling of crime would be the top issue in quaint Brier.

In 2020, there were two aggravated assault reports and 15 simple assaults, according to a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs report.

The crime rate in the south Snohomish County city was 33.1 per 1,000 residents in 2020. By comparison, Everett’s was 85.6 per 1,000 residents, according to the WASPC report. On average, the city gets about 1.5 911 calls between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. each night.

Othman, director of international fiscal services at Seattle Colleges, argues the city needs its own robust police force for proactive traffic enforcement.

“Brier really enforced the traffic laws and it made the residents feel safe. Now we don’t have that,” he said. “We just kind of want to have that quaint, small town feel.”

All of the City Council members endorsed Kaemingk, writing in an August letter, “Experience should not be underestimated, and Dale has the experience.” Othman argued in a response letter that “bringing in a person from the outside, such as myself, will allow me to leverage my past work experience and exposure to various programs and technologies, then directly apply them to helping the City of Brier operate more efficiently.”

Kaemingk is also backed by the mayors of Lynnwood, Mukilteo and Mountlake Terrace, as well as U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett.

The winner will be elected to a four-year term and make $1,000 per month. Othman, 37, said he would continue in his current job and work extra hours to be mayor.

Ballots were mailed to voters earlier this month. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday. Drop boxes are available until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Lynnwood Public Works employees on the snow plow crew sit in front of one of the city's two plows that will be named based on results of an online public vote. (City of Lynnwood)
Lynnwood snow plow names: Snowbi Wan Kenobi, Plowy McPlowface

They got the two highest votes in an online public survey by Lynnwood Public Works.

2021 survey results from the State Broadband Survey for Snohomish County. (Washington State Department of Commerce)
$16M grant to speed up broadband to north Snohomish County

In Darrington and elsewhere, rural residents have struggled to work remotely during the pandemic. A new project aims to help.

Christa Meyer, residential physical therapist in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, plays Wordle daily. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
What in the world is Wordle? It’s an online game C-R-A-Z-E

Solving the daily five-letter brain teaser in six tries is the latest social media obsession.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Everett in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Woman’s foot burned in south Everett apartment fire

Everyone escaped the fire that scorched a third-floor unit Monday night.

Police: Everett man left family member with life-threatening injuries

An Everett man, 23, was in jail on $100,000 bail after being accused of confronting women and attacking a relative.

Michelle Roth is a registered nurse in the Providence Emergency Department on Sunday, January 23, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Nurses face burnout as hospital staffing shortage continues

‘It feels like there has been a mass exodus in the last two to three months.’

Branden McKinnon (Family photo)
Lawsuit blames mother’s unsecured gun for Marysville boy’s death

Branden McKinnon, 12, got hold of a gun belonging to his mother, a Department of Corrections lieutenant. His father is suing.

Registered nurse Estella Wilmarth tends to a patient in the acute care unit of Harborview Medical Center, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in Seattle. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is deploying 100 members of the state National Guard to hospitals across the state amid staff shortages due to an omicron-fueled spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Inslee announced Thursday that teams will be deployed to assist four overcrowded emergency departments at hospitals in Everett, Yakima, Wenatchee and Spokane, and that testing teams will be based at hospitals in Olympia, Richland, Seattle and Tacoma. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Past the omicron peak? Snohomish County’s COVID cases declining

Hospitalizations are still a concern, however, and infections in Eastern Washington and Idaho could have ripple effects here.

The tower of Paine Field Airport stands in a fog bank forcing flights to be averted or cancelled in Everett, Washington on January 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
More 5G-related cancellations as Paine Field fog persists

The FAA has not cleared certain planes to land in low visibility in Everett due to nearby 5G cellular towers.

Most Read